Day 1 - We drove into the Big Bend National Park from the western entrance near the town of Tergingua. 

We turned right from the main road and drove down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.We stopped to walk around the Sam Nail Ranch  and  the Homer Wilson Ranch, both homesteads that were vacated when the land became a National Park in 1944. When we got to the place on the map called Castolon,  we expected to actually see a little town, but there were a total of about four buildings, one of which was a TINY store selling some bottled drinks and snacks.  There was a fire there in 2019 which destroyed a few other buildings whose remnants remain.

eIMG 4516

Big bend

IMG 4337

Remnants of the Sam Nail Ranch

IMG 4347

Homer Wilson Ranch

8F51325F C6EC 48B1 A381 D719F84B089A

From there we dove to the Santa Elena Canyon, a 45 mile drive from the entrance into the park, where we hiked the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.  The trail starts after crossing a partially dried creek, but on the other side, the trail is VERY STEEP and slippery for first few hundred feet or so and goes straight up and then there is another steep downhill before leveling out for a while before going up again this time on a paved switchback.  Once we got to the top we walked downhill and flat before reaching the end at the Rio Grander River.  The hike was scary to me at the beginning and then again at the end, but totally worth doing it!

IMG 7659

IMG 4392

IMG 4399

IMG 4421

The view between the two mountains is called The Window

IMG 7720

A roadrunner - Beep Beep!

IMG 4434

IMG 4420

IMG 4405

We drove 125 miles today and enjoyed Day 1 in Big Bend

IMG 4443

I enjoyed a bowl of Tergingua chili at the Starlight Restaurant.  Delicious!

IMG 4441

Tom had his usual--hamburger and fries, but said it was good also.

IMG 4437

We stayed at the Big Bend Resort & Adventures Campground in Tergingua.  Although the park was level, the name resort is definitely a misnomer. — However, there were no parks any nicer that we saw.  Just dirt, a table and hookups.